As a general rule, the more seriously you take Westerns, the stupider you look. Obviously there are exceptions, but Lawless is not one of them. It’s a fun, ultra-violent, narratively patchy jumble of interesting characters doing interesting things and stabbing people. If you’re looking for awards baiting performances then, obviously, you’re going to be disappointed, but Lawless is a wholly enjoyable piece of cinema that has more than enough tension and menace to compensate for its puddle deep emotional core.
The main character, if there is one, is Shia LaBeouf (All Universe Mr Polarizing) as the youngest of the brothers and the obvious loose cannon who has an emotional journey to make. In contrast is Tom Hardy’s older brother, Forrest, who is already mythologised in the local area. He is extremely tough, both with his family and with his enemies. There are few other characters of note (Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska both appear onscreen but do little else) most notably Guy Pearce’s antagonistic lawman. It’s as far away from his LA Confidential character as its possible to get but he’s obviously having great fun playing a villain for the second time this year.
The film is almost as full of plot holes and inaccuracies as The Dark Knight Rises but, like that movie, lingering on that defeats the point a little. Lawless is a barrel of fun- likeable, investable characters whose bandit lifestyle turns into the pursuit of something altogether more honourable. The key is to not expect too much- as Westerns go this is much more Seraphim Falls than it is There Will Be Blood. John Hillcoat has crafted a gleefully silly movie but something that’s enormous fun for receptive audiences.
Inconsistent and a bit silly, Lawless flourishes when it is allowed to be the popcorn movie it ought to have been marketed as.
|Starring:||Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Dane DeHaan|
|Running Time:||Couple of hours|